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Barry goes off the grid to track down a new meta criminal, as Allegra pulls out all the stops to protect a story source.
The Flash comics of Joshua Williamson (creator of Dr. Meena Dhawan/Fast Track), The Silence of the Lambs (Barry interviewing Thawne in his cell) and Assault On Precinct 13 and other "base under siege" stories.
Taylor is awfully high and mighty about journalistic ethics for someone who had a contact illegally break into sealed juvenile records to dig up dirt on her supervisor.
Given that Sunshine and Dr. Light are already wanted for multiple murder charges, it really shouldn't make a difference that their running the Arañas is revealed to the public in a CCC Media report and there really shouldn't be anything stopping them from killing everyone at that point.
Tom Cavanagh's performance as Thawne here is brief, but delightfully unhinged.
Danielle Panabaker's direction is suspenseful.
This episode was directed by Danielle Panabaker, who plays Caitlin Snow and Frost.
The episode title was taken from a song by the band Genesis.
Jenna West's backpack has a Batwoman logo on it.
This episode features the first appearance of Dr. Meena Dhawan. She was originally meant to be introduced during The Flash season 7, but her storyline was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Her existence was teased, however, with 701 opening with a scene where Chester was reading a book written by Dr. Meena Dhawan.
First appearing in The Flash Vol 5 #3 (September, 2016), Dr. Dhawan was a scientist at STAR Labs who put in charge of a new Speed Force Testing Center after a series of storms began giving random Central City citizens speed powers. This included Dr. Dhawan, who started assisting The Flash in fighting crime and adopted the codename Fast Track. She chose this name due to a unique ability she developed that allowed her to sense other sources of Speed Force energy.
Meena and Barry Allen briefly became romantically involved before she mysteriously disappeared. She reemerged later ,as an agent of the Black Hole crime syndicate, having been brainwashed by Gorilla Grodd. She also became the avatar of the Negative Speed Force and took on the identity of the Negative Flash.
The Arrowverse version of Dr. Meena Dhawan apparently created her own process for moving at super-speed independent of the Speed Force. She seems to be much the same character as she was in the comics, in terms of idealism and knowledge, though she works for her own company, Fast Track Labs, rather than STAR Labs.
Chester confirms that the new speedster doesn't use the Speed Force by tracking tachyon readings using STAR Labs' satellites.
Barry figures out that the fire in Ivo Labs was started by the mystery speedster, based upon the friction generated by their movement and the low flash point of the acetone used as an accelerant.
Ivo Labs' Newton Battery is a strong electrochemical cell which requires a temperature-controlled polymer case.
Chester designed a AI-generated filter program that will conceal Lydia's voice and face while she is on camera.
Chester also designed a photo-kinetic energy shield which is bullet-prof, teleport-proof and basically everything-proof. However, he only designed it to be a temporary measure until help could be summoned, so the enemy could potentially wait out the clock.
Chester says he can build an oscillating transmitter which can block a cell phone jammer.
Thawne cannot sense connections to the Negative Speed Force anymore.
Sunshine is able to use her powers to alter one of Dr. Light's bullets so that it can break the bonds of the photo-kinetic energy shield.
Dr. Meena Dhawan explains that she stole the Newton Battery because she thought it could extend how long her temporary speed powers last and that she borrowed it rather than spend four years calibrating sodium nitrate cells.
Allegra: Look, I know you're scared, but the Arañas, they operate in the shadows. The only way to take away their power is bring them into the light.
As the episode opens, The Flash responds to reports of multiple fires at Ivo Labs.
By the time The Flash gets to Ivo Labs, the fires are all out.
The staff think that he's come back and describe a speedster carrying them to safety and creating a wind funnel that extinguished the fires. This leads Barry to conclude that there's a new speedster at work.
Barry checked and made sure August Heart was still locked up in Iron Heights and Eobard Thawne is still powerless and under heavy guard at ARGUS. He also confirmed that all the Velocity X drugs are secure inside STAR Labs.
Barry still cannot contact Speed Force Nora or any of the other Force avatars.
Caitlin is not returning Barry's calls.
Joe tells Barry that he did the right thing trying to stop Caitlin's experiment but he points out that he may have caused her to lose all hope.
Cecile and Joe are busy with Jenna's kindergarten interviews, so they can't help Barry with this case.
Allegra is running the Central City Citizen in Iris' absence and is currently overseeing a profile regarding the retiring Judge Hankerson and the closing of the nearby Fort Delaney.
Taylor proposes an expose on the light-empowered meta who works with The Flash. She has pulled photos of her revealing that her face is always obscured by lights in security camera footage, but she thinks she can get the images cleared with the right resources.
Allegra shoots down the expose idea, even after Taylor claims Iris approved of it before she left. Allegra tries to stall and tells her to wait until Iris comes back.
Allegra gets a text from Lydia - the old friend and former gang member she helped in 808.
Lydia tells Allegra that their old gang, the Arañas, are expanding out of Keystone and are trying to pull her back in, because of all she knows about the group.
Lydia also tells Allegra that the gang have become cold-blooded killers under their new leadership, as opposed to the simple car thieves they once were.
Allegra asks Lydia to help her expose the Arañas, promising to quote her as an anonymous source.
Allegra and Lydia are filmed by a member of the Arañas in Jitters, who takes the footage to the gang's new leaders - Sunshine and Dr. Light.
As Barry and Chester are examining the Ivo Labs fire scene, they discovered an open case with a biometric lock. This leads them to believe the fire was meant to distract from a theft.
Barry decides to go off the grid for a while to talk to Thawne about who the mystery speedster might be, since he has no other leads and it seems clear this speedster isn't a hero.
Allegra outlines how Ultraviolet founded the Arañas as a teenager, before gaining light powers and teaming with Dr. Light and Sunshine as the Assassins Three of the Black Hole Syndicate. She asks for Taylor, Aariz and Vanya to help her with the interview.
Taylor objects to the fact that Allegra is only citing one source regarding the Arañas story and that there's no way of collaborating it. Allegra does not mention that she knows because she fought Ultraviolet and is a former member of the Arañas.
Aariz and Yanya agree to help.
Chester shows up to help with some advanced shielding tech for the interview.
Chester asks Allegra if she told her reporters why this story is so important to her. Allegra says no, because she's afraid they won't trust her anymore if they know she's a former gang member and car thief.
Dr. Light tries to shoot Lydia through the window as Sunshine appears in the CCC Media offices.
Chester is able to blind Sunshine with a flash-bang and sets up a force field around the building that will keep her and Dr. Light out.
Allegra covers Chester's advanced tech by saying that Sue Darbon hired him special to secure their building because he's more than a simple IT guy.
Yanya tries to call for help but discovers her phone isn't working. Chester concludes that Sunshine and Dr. Light must be using some kind of signal jammer to block their phones.
The reports question Allegra about whys he knows so much about Sunshine and Dr. Light's power limits when she starts trying to come up with a plan to counter them.
Thawne mourns the loss of his powers, saying he was once able to run around the world in 5 seconds.
Thawne knows about Frost's death, but says she was in over her head from the beginning.
Yanya writes a letter to her children in case they get killed.
Lydia wants to surrender herself to Sunshine and Dr. Light in the hopes that they will spare everyone else.
Taylor is in favor of Lydia surrendering herself.
Allegra refuses to let that happen, saying that reporters are supposed to protect their sources.
Taylor says she saw the code Chester typed into his shield generator so she can shut it down, but she tries to talk Yanya and Aariz into turning on Allegra.
The scene which Barry and Deon saw in the Still Force of Allegra and Taylor arguing in 815 plays out, with Taylor revealing that she learned Allegra used to be part of Arañas after one of her contacts broke into her sealed juvenile records.
The reporters turn on Allegra, saying she can't be trusted since she tried hiding her past from them.
Allegra tells Chester that she was never meant to be a leader and that the whole reason she and her cousin wound up being arrested in the first place was because of her mistakes trying to plan her first idea for a job.
Both Lydia and Chester say that Allegra is a born leader and that she has to be the one to get them out of this.
Thawne mocks Barry for not being able to figure out an obvious truth about the mystery speedster and refuses to answer Barry when he asks if he ever sensed a mystery speedster hiding themselves in 2022 during his travels.
Barry eventually goads Thawne into explaining it by going on about how this new speedster is going to replace Thawne as Barry's worst enemy.
Thawne says that it's clear that the new speedster created the fire by accident, saved the people because they honestly care about not hurting other people and that they are hiding because they can't control their powers and were afraid of The Flash coming after them.
Allegra reveals her powers to the other reports and confirms that she is the light meta who has been working with The Flash for the last few years.
Allegra fights Sunshine and Dr. Light as Chester and the other reporters get ready to send out a signal with Lydia's story.
Allegra is shot by Dr. Light but she somehow uses her powers to heal the wound.
Sunshine and Dr. Light flee once they see the news report identifying them as the leaders of the Arañas.
There are APBS out for Sunshine and Dr. Light across the whole state and the information Lydia provided allowed the police to freeze their accounts and seize their assets, which shuts down the gang forever.
The story on the Arañas is CCC Media's biggest yet with 20 million views over the first few hours.
The reporters agree to keep Allegra's identity a secret - even Taylor.
Taylor is stunned that Allegra isn't firing her, but Allegra says that she's a good investigative reporter and she was only trying to save everyone's lives - not just her own.
Taylor reveals she got the photos of Allegra helping The Flash from a social media app called Chirper.
Chester tells Barry about Allegra being an awesome leader, describing her as a combination of Captain Janeway, AOC and Angela Davis.
Caitlin calls STAR Labs and says she's not sure she can ever come back that in person. She tells Barry that she's still not sure how to feel, but she's hurting, and she's going to stay with her mom while she figures some things out.
Barry confronts the mystery speedster at Ivo Labs as they are trying to return the battery they stole.
The speedster can run at the speed of sound, but The Flash is much faster. She also reveals that her speed is temporary, lasting only a few minutes.
The speedster makes reference to creating her speed source with an associate.
The speedster claims to have invented the Newton Battery whens he was a young engineer working at Ivo Labs. This leads Barry to figure out that she is Dr. Meena Dhawan - the CEO of Fast Track Labs.
Barry has read her book - Quantum Gravity and the Universe - three times.
Barry offers to mentor Dr. Dhawan in mastering her powers and helping people.
The ARGUS secure facility on Lian Yu.
Chester reportedly started a fire by overcooking chicken tenders in the microwave in the STAR Labs lounge. According to Barry, it took forever to get rid of the smell.
Reference is made to The Flash using a wind tunnel to stop The Hotness - something that did not happen in his previous encounters with The Hotness in 416 and 808.
The Boomerang Factor
When you get right down to it, this is another Arrowverse story where the conflict wouldn't exist if people didn't keep needless secrets.
The Bottom Line
Well directed and well-acted, but certain aspects of the story don't make sense if you think about them for more than a second. Despite this, this is one of the best episodes in recent memory.